Citizens of Berkley California are protesting the presence of U.S. Marine recruiters in their traditionally liberal and peace-loving city. It is fashionable to side with the Marines. After all, an all-volunteer force requires broad recruiting. Some go further, criticizing the citizens of Berkley as ungratefully undermining the very people that keep our country free. As a member of the armed services, and a lover of sporting debate, I feel inclined to advocate the Devil.
In the first place, many people too trivially assume that an all-volunteer force is good for our country. More the 60,000 American Sons lost their lives in Vietnam, many of them sacrificed against their will. The great injustice felt by the country led to the suspension of the draft, but I wonder if we missed the point. Might the draft be the very thing that keeps us from getting involved in such a war again? After all, when we might pay for our apathy with our lives; we are much more likely to hold our government to the standard of our best interests.
The image of the ungrateful citizen is a little one-sided as well. The claim that the military keeps our country free, while encouraging to the esprit de corps, is quite the bleak assessment of the republic. I should hope that our continued liberty is the result of our willingness to fight for it intellectually. Our struggle should be to create symbiotic international relationships driven by mutual benefit, that is, not by intimidation. Military might is the worst possible way to achieve freedom. Perhaps this is the reason why our founding fathers were so suspicious of the idea of a standing army.
The people of Berkley have intentionally built a community of peace loving, liberal idealists. From their point of view, allowing the presence of military recruiters is tantamount to an endorsement of their country’s militant foreign policy. There is a current trend to accuse all dissenters as “undermining the troops”. This sentiment implies that without the public support, we will think we cannot win this war. In truth, we already won the war for Iraqi Freedom. The War for Iraqi independence is not ours to fight.
Shine forth The Light